World Chagas Disease Day - 14 April.

Every year on April 14th, World Chagas Disease Day raises awareness for Chagas disease. It’s also a day that stresses the importance of prevention and finding ways to eliminate the disease.

Chagas disease is also known as American trypanosomiasis and is named after Carlos Justiniano Chagas. The Brazilian doctor discovered the disease in 1909. Chagas disease is a slowly progressing infectious disease passed to humans from a parasite called the triatomine bug. This parasite is also known as “the kissing bug.”

Chagas disease, also known as "silent or silenced disease", affects mainly poor people without access to health care or people without a political voice. The disease progress slowly and often shows an asymptomatic clinical course. Without treatment, Chagas disease can lead to severe cardiac and digestive alterations and become fatal. Raising awareness of the disease is essential to improve the rates of early treatment and cure, together with the interruption of its transmission.

On May 24, 2019, the World Health Assembly endorsed the proposal for a World Chagas Disease Day. Several health institutions, universities, research centers, and international nongovernmental platforms supported the endorsement. The International Federation of Associations of People Affected by Chagas Disease designated April 14th as World Chagas Disease Day. April 14th is when Dr. Chagas made the first diagnosis of the disease. The day was observed for the first time in 2020.

In 2023 we are shining a spotlight on Chagas disease, the suffering it causes and are calling for equitable access to health care and services for everyone affected by the disease.

The theme for 2023 is Time to integrate Chagas disease into primary health care, so that universal care and surveillance start at the most decentralized level of the health system. In many countries, there are low detection rates (<10%, frequently <1%) and frequent barriers to access adequate healthcare.

Chagas disease is prevalent among poor populations of continental Latin America but is increasingly being detected in other countries and continents.

There are approximately 6-7 million people infected with Chagas disease worldwide, with 12,000 deaths, every year.

Source: www.who.int


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